WILLIAM E. JOHNSON is living on one of the finest farms of Menard county, owned by his father, the property comprising three hundred and forty acres of very rich and arable land on range 5, township 18, and its splendid appearance indicates the careful supervision of a progressive and practical farmer.
Mr. Johnson was born in this county, May 11, 1850, a son of John and Harriet (Jenison) Johnson. He was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads and acquired a common school education. When not engaged with the duties of the schoolroom he gave his attention to work on the home farm and assisted his father until twenty years of age, after which he spent about a year in DeWitt county, Illinois, where he worked by the month upon a farm. On the expiration of that period he returned home, remaining in this county until the spring of 1880, when he went to Kansas, where he was engaged in stock-raising, handling both cattle and sheep. He remained in Kansas until 1892, when he again returned to the old homestead, on which he has since engaged in general farming and stock-raising. For the past five years he has made a specialty of seed corn, Reid's yellow dent variety. He has won numerous prizes at the Illinois State Fair, with his product, in competition with the leading corn growers of the Mississippi valley and received a gold medal as sweepstakes prize from the Illinois commission at the St. Louis exposition in 1904 fore the best one hundred ears of yellow corn grown in Illinois.
On the 14th of September, 1882, Mr. Johnson was married to Miss Mary Ann Graham, a daughter of Henry C. Graham, whose history is given at length on another page of this volume. She was born June 23, 1858, and by her marriage has become the mother of three children, all yet under the parental roof, namely: Mildred, born August 10, 1883; Addie, born June 7, 1885; and Minnie, born August 26, 1887.
Mr. Johnson is a member of Kincaid Lodge, No. 338, A.F. & A.M., of Kincaid, Kansas; Petersburg Chapter, No. 119, R.A.M.; and St. Aldemar Commandery, No. 47, K.T., of Petersburg. He is also affiliated with the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Peoria, and he belongs to the Modern Woodmen camp, at Athens, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, at Kincaid, Kansas. His wife and daughters are members of the North Sangamon Presbyterian church and the family is one of prominence in the community, having many warm friends in Menard county. Mr. Johnson served as county commissioner for three years and while in Kansas was a member of the school board for eight years, while at the present time he is serving on the school board of his district. He has been a stalwart Republican since age conferred upon him the right of franchise, and is most enthusiastic in support of the principles of the party. His attention, however, is mainly given to his farming interests.